Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Girl Scout Green: not my favorite color

And yet it is now the color of my sofa. And rug. Oh, and walls. And the chair, two blankets, the end table, and a significant number of Skip-Bo cards. And my beloved laptop got a green coating - very bad.

Yes, all it took was a 10-minute shower, and my two darlings deciding to experiment with tempera paint. Thank goodness it's washable, yes, though I think I have to call an upholstery cleaner for the furniture. At least it wasn't white leather to begin with, right?

They both got a royal spanking (oh yes they did - they KNEW better and had been warned multiple times never ever to touch the paint without Mom or Dad), a not-fun shower, and are having a moratorium on all sweets of any kind (except fruit) for a whole week.

Overly harsh? Maybe. And maybe not. Let's see what that upholstery cleaning bill looks like first.

Friday, January 7, 2011

life tidbits

Guess what I did two days ago, for the first time ever?

I called in to a radio show! So not like me. Yes, I was a caller on the Dave Ramsey show (for those of you not in the know, he's a Christian talk radio guy who talks about personal finance, getting out of debt, and that sort of thing. Hates credit cards, so I didn't mention ours...) I was on the air for about three minutes, I think...whoopee! I was sort of surprised to actually get through (only had to call twice), and more surprised that the call screener hardly asked me anything.

And for those of you who are wondering, I just asked him about his thoughts on saving for a major goal (namely, our future yearlong round-the-world trip with the future four kids) over a period of many years - how to do that, etc. And his advice was...precisely what I already thought. Scott accuses me of having a habit of that. For instance, going into Best Buy to ask the salespeople about a dishwasher when I've already done loads of research and probably know significantly more about dishwashers than they ever would want to. I guess I like to have my opinions based on online research but confirmed by an actual human. But Scott says I just like to feel smart. He might be right, I suppose. (Which reminds me, our small group is studying the sin of pride this week. Oops.)

Sunday night, Scott and I went to Alinea for our twelfth anniversary dinner date. I had made reservations several months in advance (Alinea is one of the top restaurants in Chicago, and was ranked number one in the nation a couple years ago, I think). It was totally fun! Food was delicious (almost all of it), and interesting, and well-presented. And I just love that "fancy" eating style of lots and lots of tiny courses involving ingredients and techniques I could never manage at home. I guess it's sort of the upscale version of the sampler platter, which we all know I'm addicted to in all forms.

I guess I could post a review on Yelp, but why? Food was yummy; I'd say 80% of the courses I was saying, wow, don't give me anything else, I just want more of THAT one. Atmosphere classy but not stuffy. There were probably more kitchen and waitstaff than diners, I have to say, but that goes with the territory. A couple weird things: the faucet in their bathroom was WAY wobbly - strangely ghetto for such a nice place. (Also, I found it disturbing that someone apparently goes into the bathroom after EVERY diner and empties the trash, replaces the used cloth towel, and refolds the toilet paper into a point. I mean, come on; we KNOW other people are using the place, you don't have to hide it that well!) And at one point the sommelier (or his youthful assistant; the guy couldn't have been older than us) came and poured Scott a second glass of the WRONG wine. He came back about 30 seconds later, took that glass away, and replaced it with the correct one. But it was sort of an odd mishap.

But for the cool finale to the evening, the executive chef, Grant Achatz (might've spelled that wrong) came to our table himself to "do" dessert. They spread out a thin rubber tablecloth over our whole table, and the chef proceeded to dump piles of crumbled yummy stuff, dribbles of melted chocolate and cream and blueberry something and wine something and some funny basil leaves and then the liquid-nitrogen-frozen chocolate mousse. I can't really describe it accurately, but it was super fun and pretty and messy - and of course, yum! It made us feel special! Not sure why we got lucky as opposed to all the other tables who just got their dessert on a plate with no chef, but it might be a) because we were sitting at the biggest table and had lots of room, or b) because I had just complained that the previous course - a sweetened peppermint tea thing - tasted so much like toothpaste that I couldn't even swallow it. You know how you're sort of conditioned, by our age, not to swallow toothpaste? Anyway, that was the only total loser of a "course". But dessert made up for it.

The final tidbit of the day: I am participating in some sort of food/cooking focus group (yes, I am willing to do paid surveys - to prostitute my opinions for money. Hey, opinions I have in plenty, right?) My assignment: to video myself (5-7 minutes) cooking something involving cheese, and then to talk to the camera about what I dislike/could be improved about said cheese.

Ridiculous? Maybe. But the second part of the assignment is to make a "fun collage" (their words). I have no further instructions than that. A collage? Flashbacks to cutting up Mom's Better Homes and Gardens when I was about 8... No idea, perhaps a cheese-themed collage? I feel so...unadult.

But I do like cheese.

(Bob Dole likes cheese!) <--cultural reference some people might be too young for...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a public apology

To my wonderful husband. Who (I thought) paid $286 for a Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. I did acknowledge, at the time, that it was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen...but pretty much complained about his tree-shopping skills and lack of frugality for the next, oh, four weeks, to anyone who would listen.

Upon opening Christmas gifts, I realized that a significant chunk of that money actually went toward a gift for me (purchased at the same time/place as said Christmas tree).

Sorry, honey!

(side note: Miles thinks that's Scott's title. He said, "I'm your son. Eleanor's your daughter." And when I asked what Daddy was for me, he said, "He's your hon!")